Diary of a Lead Teacher: a cracking end to the year!

Author: Jo Hodge, Lead Teacher

What a term it has been! Planning to hit the ground running, I had a few face-to-face workshops booked for October and November but then things went wrong…I fractured my ankle at Netball!

Not to be put off, I decided to go remote again to deliver the sessions.

A local school (Coppull Parish Primary) needed to get started with delivering a physical computing unit of work to their Year 4 class using the Crumble. Applying the DSH bespoke, fun and creative philosophy, I adapted the unit to teach the pupils and teachers the basics of the Crumble! We had immense fun moving motors and lighting sparkles ready for making a carousel.

Quite a challenge doing it remotely, but the teachers were superb in supporting the sessions - thank you! Due to me being off for 6 weeks, we managed to deliver 3 sessions with them which the teachers felt were really helpful! The children were fully engaged and I loved hearing squeals as they made a sparkle flash different colours and the motors spin. Such great fun and I loved teaching them!

Last year, I previously worked with Whitefield Primary School in Liverpool with year 6 so I was pleased when I was asked to work with their Year 3! They wanted a Scratch beginners session and as it was Bonfire Night, I decided to go with Fireworks! This allowed the children to draw their own firework designs and then code them to make them flash on and off around the stage! Another fun session with two classes split over the afternoon but a learning curve for me as they were using Chromebooks. Why a challenge do you ask? Well, some of the Scratch blocks are different, therefore, I had to adapt the lesson mid flow! Despite this, they all managed, along with their fabulous teachers (yet again), to make some colourful creations!

As I said, I tried to keep myself busy whilst injured. This meant, I could deliver several cryptography workshops with my own school. First, I began with our three Year 5 classes. The Crytography workshop is such a fantastic Digital Schoolhouse resource but instead of the full Murder Mystery, I linked some of the activities to an existing unit of work. We had fantastic fun cracking codes with the Caesar Cipher wheel and they then wrote their own secret messages to their friends. We also practiced sending our own Morse code messages using torches and then made our own Morse Code Machine using Scratch! The teachers loved the lessons so much that they are planning to deliver these themselves next year - brilliant! After all, this is what DSH is all about -giving confidence to staff, whilst at the same time, providing fun sessions for children.

My final sessions this term were working with our Year 2 with whom I had wanted to use Scratch Junior so we combined their History - the Great Fire of London - with creating an animation. In the first session, I was amazed by how adept they were at designing their own London backdrops with Tudor houses! On the second day, they used the camera tool to add their face to edit a sprite to become Samuel Pepys! Over two weeks, the children managed to create a mini-animation about the Fire of London. Very impressive Year 2!

All in all, despite the challenges, it was quite a productive term and I have managed to increase my own confidence in the online delivery of Digital Schoolhouse sessions. So my broken ankle has not been wasted! However, you do need enthusiastic teachers in class ready to support and throw themselves into the session too. Thank you to all of the teachers this term - you were and are AMAZING!

Cannot wait to see what happens next term!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!


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